Texas court halts execution for man who murdered 13 month-old in horrific 'exorcism' ritual — here's why

A Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted the execution scheduled Tuesday of a man

 who was convicted in 2010 of murdering a 13 month-old child in an exorcism ritual.

Blaine Milam was sentenced to death for the gruesome murder of Amora Carson, his

 girlfriend's 13 month-old child, in 2008 in East Texas. He later said that he believed 

the infant was possessed by demons and that he needed to commit an exorcism ritual 

to save her.

The court issued the stay of execution on the basis that bite-mark evidence — which

 the prosecution had relied upon heavily to identify Milam as the killer — had been 

discredited since the original conviction.

The defense also argued that Milam's intellectual disability disqualified him from 

capital punishment. In 2002, the Supreme Court decision in Atkins v. Virginia held 

that it constituted "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the eighth 

amendment to execute mentally disabled persons. Since the Atkins decision, 

however, states have struggled to identify which defendants are truly mentally 

disabled and are thus ineligible for execution under Atkins, and which are merely 

faking it to avoid execution.

The State of Texas adopted a test that was designed to weed out the malingerers, but

 the Supreme Court invalidated Texas' test in the 2017 Moore v. Texas opinion. 

Milam's attorneys argued successfully that since Milam's mental disability was 

under a test that the Supreme Court invalidated, his death penalty should be vacated.

The state will now assess Milam under updated standards set forth by the American 

Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)— as required 

by the Moore v. Texas decision — to accurately determine his functional IQ and 

he is eligible for execution.

Milam and his girlfriend Jessica Carson contacted the police in December of 2008 

and told them that they had come home to find the baby dead. When police arrived 

to their home, they found the deceased child brutally beaten with a hammer and with 

numerous bite-mark injuries.

Police say the baby suffered 18 rib fractures and multiple skull fractures. There were

 also signs of sexual assault. The injuries were so brutal that the medical examiner in 

the case testified that he could not determine the cause of death.

When police confronted Carson about discrepancies between her story and Milam's, 

she confessed that they had believed the baby was possessed, and that she died while 

they performed an exorcism. Carson claimed that the baby had hit herself with the 

hammer while under possession.

Jessica Carson was also convicted for the murder of the baby, but she was sentenced 

to life without parole.

The stay of execution granted to Milam does not mean that he will never be 

executed; the state will be permitted to present argument that the jury would have 

convicted Milam of involvement in the gruesome murders even without the bite mark

 evidence. If this argument fails, they will still be permitted to re-try him on the issue 

of guilt without the bite mark evidence. Additionally, after the state properly assesses

 Milam's level of mental functioning, he may be ultimately found to be not mentally

 disabled under the standards set forth in the Atkins and Moore decisions.

The execution would have been the first scheduled for Texas and in the U.S. in 2019.

Here's a news video about his sentencing in 2010:

Texas court halts execution for man who murdered 13 month-old in horrific 'exorcism' ritual — here's why Texas court halts execution for man who murdered 13 month-old in horrific 'exorcism' ritual — here's why Reviewed by Your Destination on January 16, 2019 Rating: 5

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